SI Vault
YOU SHOULD KNOW if you are going to take up archery
September 06, 1954
Food, foul play and fun The bow and arrow is believed to have been invented about 15,000 years ago by a race of people called the Aurignacians. And not for fun, either. The Aurignacians were hungry and they found a bow-driven shaft more efficient than a hand-thrown spear for stocking the family table. Came the early days of the Pharaohs, and the Egyptians—an unfriendly lot—discovered that the bow and arrow could be used to slaughter one's neighbors. It was thanks to the bow and arrow that Egypt conquered the Persians, who were armed only with javelins and slingshots. Some 350 years ago the bow and arrow was superceded by gunpowder as a weapon of war, and the gun-bearing peoples soon conquered the last of the arrow shooters. Since then archery has existed principally as a sport although some African peoples still use bows and arrows for food-getting.
Decrease font Decrease font
Enlarge font Enlarge font
September 06, 1954

You Should Know If You Are Going To Take Up Archery

View CoverRead All Articles View This Issue
1 2

Regulations on the practice of archery vary widely. The use of a bow and arrow on a target range is virtually unrestricted, but it's best to check your local archery club or law enforcement agency to keep from running afoul of local rules. And no William Tell stunts, please. Even the experts can't shoot an apple off someone's head regularly. In target practice, look around before you shoot and allow 30 to 40 yards clearance on each side and behind the target.

In the field you may need a special hunting license if your state allows bow and arrow hunting—and most do. Bow and arrow seasons differ from those for firearms. Check with your conservation authorities. They can also tell you the best times, places and weather conditions for the game you're after.

The hunt

Once you've learned to shoot with reasonable accuracy you're ready for the woods. But take it easy. Leave bears, wild boar and other such creatures alone until you can be sure of getting them before they get you. Start with rabbits, woodchucks and deer and don't be disappointed if you don't hit anything the first few times out. It's difficult but practice will help. Before going hunting you can practice by setting up a straw-filled burlap dummy about the size of your prospective game. It will help sharpen your eye, especially if you try whirling and shooting at it from all angles and positions.

Most of your shooting will be from 30 to 50 yards, though at times you'll be much closer. Learn to shoot quickly and judge distance accurately. Practice shooting an arrow and reloading rapidly for a second shot. Your quarry may attack you.

Clothes and care
Unlike gun hunters who wear bright caps to protect themselves, archers usually wear green shades to conceal their approach from their targets. But if gun hunters are in the woods, wear red for your own protection. High boots with rubber soles are desirable as is a first-aid kit in case of injury. Always be careful. Remember you're hard to see. Be sure to get permission to go on any piece of land from its owner. He'll usually be glad to oblige and may be able to give you helpful pointers. It's also a good idea to let a ranger, game warden or someone else know where you are so they can find you in case of accident. NEVER GO OUT ALONE. Always have at least one other person with you for safety's sake.

Reading matter
There are more publications and books available than you'd think. The leading magazines are Archery (monthly, $2.25 a year, P.O. Box H, Palm Desert, Calif.) and the Archer's Magazine (monthly, $2.50 a year, the Archer's Publishing Co., 1200 Walnut St., Philadelphia 7, Pa.). There are many good books on archery. Two in particular will get your library off to a good start: Hunting the Hard Way by Howard Hill (Wilcox & Follett Co., $7.50) and Hunting with a Bow and Arrow by Saxton Pope (Putnam, $3.50). These should interest you whether you decide you like archery or not. Chances are you will. Happy Hunting!

by The Know-it-all

1 2